Australia bans container ship Vega Auriga’s entry into local ports
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has banned the container ship Vega Auriga (IMO 9347786) from using or entering any of the country's ports.
The direction comes in the wake of repeated breaches relating to seafarer welfare and maintenance of the vessel.
AMSA ship safety division general manager Allan Schwartz said: "Vessels that do not meet such standards, including standards for the welfare and treatment of crew, pose an increased risk to seafarer safe operations and the marine environment.
"Seafarer welfare is just as important as the proper maintenance of ship equipment, and an integral part of safe operations.
"A failure in either system could lead to serious accidents."
Since July 2013, AMSA has detained Vega Auriga on three occasions due to repeated concerns for the welfare of the crew, including improper payment of wages, inadequate living and working conditions and poor maintenance, resulting in an unseaworthy and substandard vessel.
The ban is scheduled to remain in place for the next three months.
Australia is a signatory to the Maritime Labour Convention 2006, and AMSA is responsible for ensuring compliance with all international safety conventions.
The minimum standards are applicable to all of the 1.4 million seafarers who live and work on international ships.
The ban has also been supported by the Maritime Union of Australia and International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), who represent global seafarers.
Meanwhile, the Maritime Union of New Zealand said that Vega Auriga should be detained in a New Zealand port until it is deemed seaworthy and crew issues have been fixed.
The vessel had been checked by the Maritime New Zealand inspectors in the Port of Tauranga, who ordered repair works to be carried out before the ship would be allowed to leave port.
Maritime Union of New Zealand national secretary Joe Fleetwood said a full investigation of the vessel was required due to the seriousness of the actions taken by the Australian authorities.